D&D 3E/3.5 Edition Experience - Did/Do you Play 3rd Edtion D&D? How Was/Is it?

How Did/Do You Feel About 3E/3.5E D&D?

  • I'm playing it right now; I'll have to let you know later.

    Votes: 0 0.0%


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Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
With all of the talk about the Golden Age of Gaming, and all of the retro-clones floating around, it's made me curious about the older editions of the game. I'm curious how many folks on ENWorld have ever played these older editions, and what their level of satisfaction was. Or is, if you are one of the rare birds that are still rocking it O.G. Style.

This week I'd like to examine the 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Have you played it before? or are you still playing it? What do you think about it?

By "played," I mean that you've been either a player or a DM for at least one gaming session. By "playing," I mean you have an ongoing gaming group that still actively plays this version, however occasionally. And for the purpose of this survey, I'm only referring to the D&D 3e/3.5e rules set, first published in 2000 and updated in mid-2003. You remember it; it was the "dungeonpunk" version with the Sword and Tome on the cover:

View attachment 121019 View attachment 121020

This was a brand-new edition of the game, like nothing that any of us had ever seen. Nearly all of the dice mechanics had been stripped out and rebuilt from the ground up, and the love-it-or-hate-it THAC0 mechanic was gone. Combat was expanded to play more like a tactical mini-game. All character classes used the same XP table. Barbarians and Monks were core races. And so on. Seriously, I could write a thousand words on the differences between 3rd Edition and AD&D, and not even cover half of it. So much had changed, that it created a split in the gaming community that still hasn't quite healed.

But the biggest accomplishment of this edition was ultimately its doom: the Open Gaming License. Wizards of the Coast decided to make the 3rd Edition of D&D an open-source system, which allowed authors to write new D&D material without needing direct approval. This made it incredibly easy to market D&D-compatible content under their label and suddenly, D&D was everywhere. The D&D Renaissance had begun.

Now I know that some of you expected me to separate out these two versions into different surveys, the way I did for B/X and BECMI. But I didn't for several reasons: one, these two editions used the same mechanics; two, these editions had the same contributing authors; and three, the v3.5 rules were intended to be a rules update and not a completely new release. No, 3.5E doesn't merit it's own survey.

Feel free to add nuance in your comments, but let's not have an edition war over this. I'm really just interested in hearing peoples' stories of playing the 3E rules, and swimming in all of the OGL content that came with it. I know that this edition, and the ones to follow, are going to cause some strong feelings for folks. I also know that some people on this board still consider themselves to be soldiers in an ongoing Edition War. So I'm asking you to just...not. Don't bait the trolls, and don't be the troll that takes their bait. Just reminisce with me, be respectful of other people and their experiences, and save your attack rolls for the tabletop.

Tune in next week for one of the most controversial editions in recent memory...4th Edition!

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When it first came out, 3e seemed the answer to all my prayers. Easy mechanics! Half-orcs! Take any class you want whenever you want, and as many levels as you want!

I griped at 3.5 bit agreed with Monte Cook: it was an improvement and since everything from then on would be 3.5 I might as well pick it up.

Over time, I came to really dislike the edition. It isn't terrible per se, but just has too many rules and too much contradictions. Like in 2e, there are tons of restrictions that feel arbitrary and unnecessary, but unlike in 2e, ignoring those restrictions would massively imbalance the game and just make it no fun for anyone.

Pathfinder helped a bit but doubled down on on the too many rules problem.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
Looking forward to the 4e poll. Assuming it will beat out OD&D for lowest. Personally, I like 4e, but I know the feels most have for it.
It has to beat od&d. Od&d was a lot better. I feel like a lot of people forget just how good od&d was at times. At least thats my perception.
I promise that I'm not trying to create a popularity contest between editions here; I'm only trying to get people to reminisce about their favorite memories of playing older editions of D&D. But I suspected the tone would change when we got to 3rd Edition. This is usually the edition that starts trying to "beat" the others in some way.

I get that a lot of 3rd Edition nostalgia is tied up in the negative. People complained when it was released, complained when it was updated to 3.5, complained when it was discontinued...and for the first time, the Internet made it possible for complaints about a new D&D edition to be amplified into noise. So I can see how some folks on the Internet might feel they have old scores to settle, to "prove" (if only to themselves) that Edition X was Best Dog.

But the thing is, all dogs are Best Dog.

Before a 4e poll we should have one for D20 modern and the D20 Star Wars...

Just sayin...
I second that.
At the risk of opening up a can of worms; D20 modern and D20 Star Wars aren't D&D. I think this poll is about editions of D&D.
The next one will be for 4th Edition, and I think it might be the last one in this series of surveys. I wanted to get people talking about the older editions of D&D, and share some of their experiences with them...and 5th Edition isn't an "older edition" of D&D. It's the current edition: it is still in print, it is still actively being updated (errata was issued just a couple weeks ago), and still being developed (if you missed the new Unearthed Arcana, you need to check it out.) It's been several years since its release date, but even so it's still the new kid on the block.

And @Eyes of Nine is right: d20 Modern and Star Wars d20 are amazing games that use the d20 System, but they aren't different editions of Dungeons & Dragons. But if pressed, I would admit that these games fall under the "d20 SRD" umbrella, which is what this survey measures.

So if you played d20 Modern or Star Wars d20, and you feel they should be included in these D&D surveys, then vote accordingly in this survey and tell us about it in the comments. That is the nostalgia content that I crave!
 
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atanakar

Hero
And @Eyes of Nine is right: d20 Modern and Star Wars d20 are amazing games that use the d20 System, but they aren't different editions of Dungeons & Dragons. But if pressed, I would admit that these games fall under the "d20 SRD" umbrella, which is what this survey measures.

So if you played d20 Modern or Star Wars d20, and you feel they should be included in these D&D surveys, then vote accordingly in this survey and tell us about it in the comments. That is the nostalgia content that I crave!

I'll create a d20 (Modern, SW and others) poll once the D&D Edition polls are finished.
 

I'm kinda thinking about running 3.5 again. But that's more because I love (LOVE) Tome of Battle.

I reckon if I replace the spell progression of 3.5 with that of 5E (so casters get more spells at lower level; but less spells of levels 6-9) and throw ToB in for the martial classes, the game might actually be pretty balanced (as between the classes).

And to keep abuse to a minimum enforce the 'plus one' rule for sources outside the Core books and ToB for character options.

Give everyone a rule of PHB (and ToB) + 1.

You might actually wind up with a playable game.
 


3catcircus

Adventurer
I'm kinda thinking about running 3.5 again. But that's more because I love (LOVE) Tome of Battle.

I reckon if I replace the spell progression of 3.5 with that of 5E (so casters get more spells at lower level; but less spells of levels 6-9) and throw ToB in for the martial classes, the game might actually be pretty balanced (as between the classes).

And to keep abuse to a minimum enforce the 'plus one' rule for sources outside the Core books and ToB for character options.

Give everyone a rule of PHB (and ToB) + 1.

You might actually wind up with a playable game.
I pretty much enjoyed every 3.x book except Tome of Battle and Magic of Incarnum. The whole "maneuvers and stances" structure felt too limiting and at the same time too much like magic.

Incarnum felt too much like trying to meld magic and psionics without being either.

I think that, like a lot of the supplements, if you ran a campaign just using ToB without Complete Warrior, or Incarum without Complete Psionics (or any of the other magic supplements), it would probably be ok.
 

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